A new batch of children’s books has all the familiar trappings – colorful covers, talking dogs and slightly mischievous children – but, beware, there might also be morals to the stories.

Authors and illustrators are tackling topics that range from diversity and self-esteem to fears about monsters that lurk in dark closets. Manners are another favorite subject, and so is dealing with a new baby.

Perhaps, though, the idea that might resonate the most, at least to the parents guiding youngsters through these books, is the one that reminds people to routinely stop and smell the roses.

“Someday Is Not a Day of the Week” (Sleeping Bear Press, $15.95, ages 4-8) and “Just for Today” (New World Library/H.J. Kramer, $15.95, ages 4-8) both encourage families to enjoy each other’s company and have fun, even if it means sacrificing a chore or two.

In “Someday Is Not a Day of the Week,” written by Denise Brennan-Nelson and illustrated by Kevin O’Malley, Max the beaver doesn’t understand why everyone else has something to do, but not something better to do, when he wants to go fishing, make a fort or ride the ferris wheel. They always push the fun stuff off until “Someday.”

But when Max pulls out a calendar and shows them that Someday isn’t an option, Momma, Daddy and Grandpa thank him for pointing out their error.

Meanwhile, it’s the Bear family that unplugs from their busy lives in “Just for Today,” written by Jan Phillips and illustrated by Alison Bonds Shapiro. Even if it is only for one day, they put their clocks aside and just have time to relax.

“Imagine a Day” (Atheneum, $16.95, all ages), by Rob Gonsalves has loftier goals. It encourages readers to ponder some extraordinary possibilities, such as not needing wings to soar in the sky and a sand castle that can withstand the highest, strongest waves.

But with just a slight shift in perspective, readers might see that some of these things are possible: “Imagine a day when the edge of the map is only the beginning of what we can explore.”

Peter Holwitz disguises an effective story about tolerance in the humorous rhymes and drawings in “Scribbleville” (Philomel, $15.99, ages 3 and up).

What happens when a family drawn of straight lines moves into a town filled with curlicues?

Stares at first, of course, but then the squiggly folk warm up to their hard-edge neighbors and pretty soon everyone is playing with each other’s pencils.

Embracing those around you is important – especially if they’re around for good.

“Our New Baby” (Kingfisher, $3.95, baby-preschool), by Heather Maiser and illustrated by Kristina Stephenson, is part of the First-Time Stories series that aims to prepare young children for new situations. This particular book examines how two kids in the same family react to the idea of a third one joining the mix.

The same brother and sister also have to learn to share in “It’s My Turn!”

Can’t get your kids to eat peas? Mama Pea has the opposite problem in “Little Pea” (Chronicle, $12.95, ages 3 and up), by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. She can’t get Little Pea to eat his candy.

With a little prodding, he does have five bites, just enough for him to get dessert: a big bowl of spinach.


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